sorry for the belated answer.
Well, why would you not be the person to do that? Like I said, view yourself doing the things you do out of a moral reason. So instead of making it a 'rule,' you can rephrase it like:
'I am the kind of person who does not see animals as food or property, because it is an unnecessary and very immoral action, and I am a moral person.'
I mean, yes, sure, but I will still have to actively choose to define myself that way, to establish that rule – even if attaching a reasons to it might ease the process of attaching that label to myself, I still struggle with the idea of definitively defining myself in the first place.
I wouldn't establish anything as 'rules,' since it can lead to Deontological thinking, which is a pretty damn useless and unproductive moral system. Saying 'I will never use animal products under any circumstances,' is an example of this; granted, there probably will never be a case where using the animal products, but would you adhere to this rule if the situation were life or death, where eating meat would save your life, or someone else's?
It's like Batman's 'rule' of never killing, so he always leaves the Joker alive. To a consequentialist, it would make more sense to kill the Joker since after Batman defeats him, he goes back to crime. If there was somehow a way to reprogram the Joker's brain to make him a good guy, that would be the best consequence, but we also need to be practical here.
That's true, but I suspect for me it's even too easy to consider it obvious that in life or death, or even just "unpractical" circumstances, I would be willing to make an exception. That's because I have not interiorised "me= vegan"
This has partly to do with the perceive weight of my efforts compared to our historical moment. Even though one way to view the problem is that, of course, every time you avoid eating an animal or an animal product you are in fact "saving" a number of lives, on the one hand, not eating animal products in a world where veganism is the exception is not the same as doing that in a world where veganism is the norm. Essentially I am not interested in feeling "morally virtuous" because I am not eating animal products and I'm not contributing to animal exploitation, while at the same time that exploitation continues on a massive scale. Now, if veganism were closer to the tipping edge of shutting down all enterprises which exploit animal, partaking or not in veganism would feel much more meaningful. Every form of reductionism is already doing a great difference if compared to the average person's lifestyle, or in other words, even though the average person is doing so little, it is not with its small numbers that veganism can hope to make a difference... but at the same time if individuals don't change, vegan numbers won't grow.
I'm aware that this is basically the voter's dilemma – even if your vote counts only one, and technically it does not have any power to influence the result of the elections, at the same time not voting is not the solution, because if nobody did vote [or if "no vegan voted"
] the resulting situation would be even worse. But unlike the voter's dilemma, the "vegan dilemma" comes with an infinity of degrees – every time you eat you are either contributing or not to animal exploitation, so there are as many degrees of commitment to the cause as meals in your life. Is veganism the same as a political situation of 3 times a day elections? I'm not sure.
But certainly not making a decision that qualifies my alliance in some way makes it harder for me to make sure that I'll consistently make the best choice, even though it guarantees the avoidance of the very dangerous "sense of moral superiority" that some vegans (mistakenly) have.
Amarillyde wrote: ↑Tue May 28, 2019 2:58 pm
Furthermore, vagueness of identity works towards the elimination of the sense of guilt and self-betrayal that occurs when you do something which is not aligned with the kind of person who think you are, and the bugbear of that guilt is much needed for vegans who want to stay vegan.
I am not quite sure what you're getting at here. Can you elaborate so I don't fuck up what you're saying (I have a pretty good idea, I just want to be sure)?
I meant that if I do not identify as a vegan I will not feel guilty every time I happen to eat dairy, whereas if I do lean towards the vegan identification, I *will* feel guilty if I eat dairy, even though I might have not made the change completely yet. If I give up and identify as a vegetarian, for instance (I don't think I will ever be okay with that, but just as an example) I will have accepted a certain status that involves that eating dairy is okay, so I will probably eat more of it than I'd do otherwise. I think reducetarianism works a little better in this sense because you are trying to reduce all animal products, so you are aware of all of them as problematic, potentially. But it still leaves you in a situation when occasionally you feel like they're okay.
Once you transition, the crave for meat and such persists, but it gradually fades away.
I totally agree, but people who have never tried don't know that and tend to be very skeptical about that. I think that by leaving them the choice and making them aware of the problem with animal products you leave them the freedom to inform themselves more and gradually make better choices. I think everybody would at least consider 'reducing' the amount of animal products they eat, while if faced with a black or white approach they would respond with immediate rejection.
For me personally it's the other way. The process of decision and the outcome are important. When I make a good decision (leaving animal products in grocery store), I feel good about it. When make bad one (e.g. buying meat) I feel bad. It's helping me do good decision more often. Making rules for myself doesn't work, because as I created the rule, I can decide to break it anytime (with no punishment).
I'd rather identify myself as a "person who is constantly trying to make good (or at least better) decisions" about my health, the environment, animal welfare etc. than as a "vegan person".
that's also my story, essentially, so far. I like the positive outlook you have on it!
I am more worried of how it's going to work long-term, especially if I'll stop being surrounded by people who are some form of vegetarian, as it might happen soon.